After spending a day with a hectic schedule, most of us prefer dozing off to sleep. However, most of the time it so happens that while we go to sleep, we suffer from insomnia. Many sleepless nights make you frustrated and stressed.
Well, it is discovered that practicing some breathing exercises for sleep offers you a great sleep. It relaxes your mind and body, thus making you fall asleep.
Some of the breathing exercises for sleep are listed below. This will greatly aid in providing you with a good sleep relieving mental stress and fatigue.
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
The Diaphragm plays an important role when breathing exercise is concerned. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing maintains your chest still, thus reducing the pace of breathing and allowing you to sleep better.
This type of breathing can be practiced as follows:
Steps to perform Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise
- Comfortably sit on a chair or lie on your back.
- Make sure to rest one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Slowly inhale through your nose and make sure the chest remains still.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth.
- You need to repeat this procedure 3 to 5 times.
2. Box Breathing or Square Breathing
This type of breathing is practiced during meditation and relieves anxiety. Besides this, it also helps in maintaining natural breathing and reduces stress. This is done as follows:
Steps to perform Box Breathing or Square Breathing.
- Lay on your bed or sit up with your back straight.
- Next, inhale slowly through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Consider holding your breath for 4 seconds.
- Slowly exhale completely through your mouth for 4 seconds.
- Again hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Continue repeating this process.
3. 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
This breathing method again greatly helps in relieving anxiety and allowing you with a good sleep. This technique can be carried out as follows:
Steps to perform 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
- Lie down on the bed.
- Making a ‘whoosh’ sound, slowly exhale through your mouth.
- Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold on to this breath for 7 seconds.
- Again exhale through your mouth making a ‘whoosh’ sound for 8 seconds.
- Repeat the above process 4-8 times.
4. Body Scan
This technique relieves your mental stress and allows you to fall asleep. Following steps will help you practice this technique.
- Lie down on bed and exhale slowly.
- Closely visualize each and every part of the body, starting from the head to the toe, mainly focusing on the tense muscles.
- Once you are done exhaling, try repeating this process.
5. Buteyko Breathing
This technique helps to maintain a normal breathing rhythm.
- Try sitting on bed with your mouth closed and inhale through your nose at a natural pace for about 30 seconds.
- Inhale and exhale through your nose once.
- Gently pinch your nose closing with your thumb and forefinger, keeping your mouth close.
- Slowly inhale and exhale through your nose again.
6. Bhramari Pranayama Breathing
This breathing technique is practiced in yoga and effectively reduces heart rate.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly exhale and inhale.
- Place your middle fingers across your eyes.
- Slightly put pressure besides your nose with your ring finger.
- Slowly inhale and exhale through your nose, making an om sound.
- Repeat this for 5 minutes.
7. The Papeworth Technique
This technique effectively helps in natural breathing, reducing yawning and sighing.
- Sit in an erect posture.
- Inhale with your mouth or your nose, focusing on counting to 4.
8. Focusing on your breathing
This technique also allows you to get better sleep.
- Lie down in bed and focus on exhaling and try to relax.
- You can either count from one to 10 and then backward from 10 to one, but try to match the counts with your exhales.
- Try repeating this until you fall asleep.
9. Three-part Breathing
This exercise is easy to practice and offers you a good sleep.
- Slowly take a deep breath in.
- Exhale slowly focusing on your body and feel it.
- Repeat this several times until your exhale is twice as long as your inhale.
10. Kapalbhati Breathing
This is an advanced breathing technique which helps open the sinuses. It is recommended to practice other breathing exercises before trying out this one.
- Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
- Rest your hands on your knees.
- Inhale slowly.
- Then exhale, contracting your belly, forcing the breath out. Feel your abdominal muscles contract by resting your hand on your stomach.
- Consider 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapalbhati pranayama.
- Relax with your eyes closed and feel the sensations in your body.
- Repeat this for two more rounds.
11. Alternate Nasal Breathing
This breathing exercise is also referred to as ‘nadi shodhana pranayama’.
- Sit comfortably with your legs crossed.
- Your left hand should be on your knee and your right thumb against your nose.
- Exhale to the fullest and then close the right nostril.
- Inhale slowly through your left nostril.
- Closing your left nostril, open your right nostril and exhale through it.
- Repeat this for 5 minutes, and finally exhale through your left nostril.
12. Visualizing while Breathing
Imagining or visualizing while breathing is the most relaxing method and quite effective in offering you a great sleep.
- Lie down in bed and exhale slowly by focusing on your breath and relax.
- The moment you feel relaxed, focus your exhales and try to feel it.
- Some sensations like sinking into the bed, a feeling of things slowing down, a feeling of heaviness, or feeling like you have enough patience.
- Start imagining or visualizing that your breath is made up of colors.
- Focus as you breathe in and out and visualize those colors matching your breath.
- Continue this process until you fall asleep.
13. Chanting a Mantra
If you have mastered all the breathing techniques, you can then go for this technique. Repeating a mantra will allow you to relax and provide you with a good sleep.
- Comfortably lie down in bed or sit in a relaxing position.
- Once you breathe in deeply, memorize a phrase and say it to yourself like “Inhale relaxation.”
- The moment you breathe out and release the air from your abdomen memorize “Exhale tension.”
Make sure to pause before you exhale and inhale.
14. Visualize to Release Energy
This is an interesting technique to try out before you sleep. This works effectively allowing you to relax and making you sleep better.
- You can imagine that worry, stress, or anxiety is a colored gas and is present in every corner of your body.
- As you slowly exhale, this colored gas is expelled from every part of your body and as it leaves, you feel relaxed.
- You can visualize it moving from your lower body up through your torso and turning into a ball shape ready to be expelled.
- Again visualize the same energy dragged from your head down into the ball of energy.
- Now, imagine this ball of energy as your negative energy similar to your anxiety and fear.
- Now, once you feel relaxed, and calm, you are ready to sleep.
You can try out these breathing exercises for sleep mentioned above. This will ensure that you feel relaxed with a peace of mind. Practicing these techniques regularly will relieve you from insomnia thus making you feel calm.